Summer marks the half-way point of the year. It’s that time of year when we dream of road trips and summer vacations. For some of us, it’s a time to plan for the big move to college or a time to land that first job after graduation.
If you’re finding that your New Year’s resolutions haven’t stuck well, or finding the cash for all that summer fun is a challenge, it could be time for a mid-year financial tune-up.
How to Do a Mid-Year Financial Tune-Up
Start by reviewing your current financial situation.
What is working well for you? What financial decisions have you made recently that make you proud? What financial decisions have you made this year that you regret?
Taking a good look at how things are going is a fantastic first step to making sure you finish the year financially strong. It’s a way for you to identify what’s working for your finances and what areas need work.
Once you know where you’re at, make a plan for where you want to go.
You can’t reach your goal if you don’t lay out the steps to get there. Decide on a smart financial goal for the rest of the year, and write down the steps it will take to reach that goal. Put deadlines for these on your calendar, so you don’t forget them. Determine what small things you could change that would have an impact on your spending. Even the grandest of goals doesn’t seem so difficult when it’s broken into smaller steps. And celebrating the mini-successes along the way makes it more exciting to work on your goals.
Allow yourself some grace.
Whether your goal is to aggressively pay down debt or to save for something big, recognize that sometimes setbacks happen. Sometimes we’re tempted into spending money on other things. Sometimes unexpected repairs force us to shift our financial priorities. Stuff happens, and that’s okay. Just shake it off, and start again.
Start looking ahead to the rest of they year.
The cold winter months will be here before you know it, so spend the summer looking at ways to take care of your home. A fresh coat of paint on the house or some new weatherstripping and caulk can do a lot spruce up your home and help you save on your utility bills.
Christmas will be here before you know it, with all the trappings of the season, so make sure you start saving for the holidays now. If you’re not on budget billing, you’ll want to start putting aside a little bit of money for your winter home heating bills, too.
Take some time over the summer to catch up on your frugal reading and to plan those make-ahead freezer meals for when school starts again.
I find that doing a little mid-year financial tune-up really helps me refocus on my goals and keep me on track to reach them. It’s all too easy to let those lazy summer days just fade into memory, but with a little planning, you can use them to help you save money and pay down debt.